So, here I am, back again. I had what I would call a pretty good month. Well, if you don’t include the ‘Salt Peanuts’ sweater… I’ve re-named that pattern; I now call it ‘Drive Me Nuts’. All the lovely folks I have discussed this $%&#@%$ sweater with on the knitting boards I belong to must think I’ve absolutely gone out of my mind. This sweater is taking over my life. I’ve frogged and re-written and frogged and re-written over and over and still I’ve only completed the back and part of the left front. The back was ridiculously easy and gave me no idea of what was in store for me when I started the left front. The pattern directions were, to say the least, unhelpful. I tried to write out the instructions line for line, thinking that would help me figure the pattern out. When I knitted up my ‘new’ directions, it just didn’t look like the gorgeous sweater in the picture. So I ripped it all out, re-wound my ball of wool, and read through the pattern again.
Then I re-wrote the instructions, making sure I used the original pattern and not my first effort at figuring it out on paper, and started knitting yet again. This time I only knitted up the ribbing and a couple of inches of the front before I figured out that something just did not look good. Once again, I had gotten it wrong. I thought the ‘selvedge’ stitches would be on the edge that was to be sewn to the back. I was wrong. That edge was supposed to be straight stockinette stitch so I could sew it correctly, if I ever got it made up. So that was one thing wrong. Then, in discussing the pattern with some of my Stitch’n Bitch group, we figured out that the two selvedge stitches should be along the front edge, which makes for a nice flat edge. Makes sense, right? But when I looked over the directions, I couldn’t figure out if the pattern stitches would take up five stitches in addition to the two selvedge stitches or if the five stitches would be the total of the pattern including the selvedge stitches.
When some helpful folks on my favorite group, BusyKnitting, posted the link to a KAL (Knit-A-Long, for the uninitiated) for this very sweater, I went and checked it out. Apparently, all the folks who knitted this sweater have interpreted the pattern in their own ways and there were lots of solutions presented. I tried a couple of them, but frogged them all. I finally gave in and completely re-wrote the pattern, figuring out my own solution. I went through my stitch dictionaries and found a lace rib that was very similar to the pattern in the sweater and re-wrote the left front portion of the pattern using it. I’m happy with the way the left front of this sweater looks now and it will definitely fit with the back that I’ve already completed. My biggest problem now is whether or not I’ll be able to make the right front of the sweater match the left front. I have made tons of notes to myself on ‘my’ version, just so I don’t forget exactly what I’ve done, so keep your fingers crossed. I would cross mine, but it makes it difficult to knit… ;o) Anyway, before I started this sweater I really thought I could consider myself an ‘intermediate’ knitter, but not if this is the pattern I’ll be judged by, that’s for sure.
Part II – What I did on my summer vacation…
I didn’t really take much in the way of vacation time, but made the most of what time I did take. Mike and I went to a couple (really three) of wool/fiber festivals over the summer, though I’m still saving my pennies for Rhinebeck in October. We went to a couple of air shows, too, and had a great time. The weather has cooperated beautifully with all our plans this year. Since that rarely happens, I’m enjoying it while I can. We went up north to the Lake Placid area a couple of weekends and even the long drive up there and back was lovely.
This last weekend we went to Syracuse on Saturday, then drove to Geneseo, NY for Saturday night, and on to Hemlock for the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival on Sunday. That was a very nice little fair, though it seemed to be much more geared to spinners and weavers than knitters. I still got some lovely goodies and have posted pictures for your viewing pleasure. I picked up some fabulous 50% wool/50% alpaca in cream and now have to find the perfect pattern for an Aran sweater to use it on. I’ve always wanted to try my hand on an Aran sweater. My grandmother was from Ireland and we always had lovely hand-knitted sweaters growing up. She didn’t knit them, but she brought them home from Ireland when she visited. I think some of her sisters and sisters-in-law were cottage-industry hand-knitters so she could always get a fairly good price. Anyway, I’d like to try to make one myself. I’ve done cables and I really enjoyed doing them, even the ‘fiddly’ ones. I just love the way they come out looking in a sweater. I want to find a cardigan as I have a problem with anything that’s even a tiny bit close to my neck – for some reason, it feels like I’m choking when my neckline is too close. Oh well, I think a cardigan is probably more versatile anyway, at least for me. I probably won’t start anything until after the holidays anyway, so I’ll have lots of time to look for something just right.
Part III – Current Projects
Let’s see; what is on my needles right now?
- ‘Drive Me Nuts’, formerly known as ‘Salt Peanuts’ (pictures posted);
- Toe-up socks that I can’t seem to get around to finishing because I just don’t like socks, I think;
- ‘Branching Out’ scarf from Knitty, about five feet long, so that’s almost done;
- ‘Gryffindor House Scarf’ from “Charmed Knits”; this one is all stockinette, in the round…ho-hum, boring as all get out after about two rows, but it’s spoken for, so I have to finish it;
- Lacy Prairie Shawl from ‘Folk Shawls’ by Cheryl Oberle in a cream-colored alpaca – so soft and slippery and warm that I can’t wait to get it around my shoulders during the winter (picture posted);
- A fun and funky scarf for a Christmas gift that is easy and fun to make (picture posted);
- Various washcloths, etc., for spa sets, as Christmas gifts for friends at work; and
- A couple of scarves that never seem to get done, though I work on them what seems like a lot.
So I just have a few things going on, right? At least I can’t get bored; all I have to do is pick up something else and I’ll have to use my brain again, right?
Part IV – Me again
I think I need to see the doc; I seem to be having some minor issues though they could be the result of the situation at work and not the meds. I’ll have to talk to her and see what she thinks. I’m not losing, but I’m not gaining and that’s a good thing so I won’t complain about my weight. I’ve resigned myself to always being a ‘voluptuous’ woman – doesn’t that sound better than a fat broad? – and as long as I’m healthy, I really can’t kick about it. Work is very hectic right now; a lot of high-profile projects and I’m busy all day, but that’s ok, too. I’d rather be busy than sit there twiddling my thumbs, know what I mean? The day goes by faster when you’re busy, that’s for sure. I plan to get some knitting in tonight; I really have to get close to finishing the left front of ‘Salt Peanuts’ so I can start the right front and make sure they match as best I can.
Almost forgot: I made some washcloths for Mom and she ended up giving a couple to her great-niece Chloe (7 years old) because she really liked them. Now Mom wants me to teach her and Chloe how to knit. My patience is a little thin sometimes, but I’m going to give it a shot. I think some straight garter stitch on size 8 US needles ought to work out fine, don’t you? I figure once they have garter stitch down, I can teach them ‘Grandmother’s Favorite’ and that’ll be really easy for them and result in a nice cloth. I picked up some Peaches’n Crème (about 10 balls) at a yard sale for $1 (white only) and some colors on sale at Michaels or A.C. Moore (can’t remember) so they’d have something to work with and I have two pair of needles that I don’t need, so I didn’t need to buy them. Chloe also wondered if she could make a scarf… I think I can manage that. I also have a couple of balls of lavender Debby Bliss Cashmerino that I got for free, so I think that might be a nice scarf for Chloe. Wish me luck, and remember, until next time, wear natural fibers; hug your cat!